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From the Portsmouth Herald|Seacoastonline.com :


Speech pathologist Lauren Koczarski and Cheyenne Gemma in the WSCA Portsmouth Community Radio studio. Photo by Sisay Sabera

features@seacoastonline.com
March 17, 2011 2:00 AM

On March 8 our radio show, "Don't Dis My Ability," heard on Portsmouth Community Radio 106.1 FM every other Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. was honored by the presence of a fine young writer.

I had sent out a request through my network of friends that our show was looking for a poet who could express what it was like living with a disability. On Tuesday, a poet and writer, 13-year-old Cheyenne Gemma, of Raymond, came to the radio station with her entourage of grandparents and speech pathologist. We were told ahead of time that she did not like people talking for her, over her and about her. She made it known that she had a voice, even though it came through an electronic communicator, and she knew how to use it — thank you very much!

So, I'm not going to do that and incur her wrath. Her grandmother and I worked together weeks before the interview to fashion the questions that were then answered by Cheyenne. The next step was to create a script and program her answers into her electronic communicator.

Here is Cheyenne in her own words:

Question: How do you feel not being able to speak?

Cheyenne: Who knows what it feels like not to talk? Shut out of the world, and all alone. Not being able to share your thoughts, only listening to others talk about you. I want to cry and tell them how they hurt me. Words are wonderful; they should make me feel alive. I want to tell everyone how they make me feel. I wish I felt good about myself.

Telephone

Please let me talk on the phone...;
Happy even though no one is home.
Oh, it would be so much fun!
Not alone, just to talk to someone.
Even the recording would satisfy me!

Question: When did you first realize you could write poetry?

Answer: When I first started typing — my mind works best in rhythmic patterns. The music is like poetry with beats and waves. Nature inspires me. It's so beautiful and I see beauty in words.

If I could

If I could I would run and play outside.
I want to touch the trees.
I want to shake hands with the trees.
I would roll in the grass.
I would hold the earth close to me.
I would sing with the birds.
I would sing praises to Jesus.
I would draw in the sky.
I would draw beautiful rainbows.
I would kiss the flowers.
I would love to play with the flowers.
If I could.

The next day I thought of this saying. "Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form when within thee the universe is folded."-Baha'u'llah, 1817-1892.

Everyone has some indispensable unique contribution to make in the world. You have it, I have it, and certainly Cheyenne has it. Believe it. If I didn't know it before I met Cheyenne Gemma, I certainly know it now.

click to learn more about Cheyenne Gemma: A Very Powerful Show of Creativity and Courage – … A Young Lady You Won’t Forget: ("Cheyenne has written a song that one of her aides has set to music and sings...") 

Go&Do:

WHAT: Don't Dis My Ability radio show
WHEN: Every other Tuesday, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
WHERE: Portsmouth Community Radio 106.1 FM, 909 Islington St, Suite 1, Portsmouth

*Permission to repost article granted by: J.L. Stevens, Spotlight Editor

Ronnie Tomanio is the creator and co-host of Don't Dis My Ability radio show:

The Don't Dis My Ability radio show was Ron Tomanio’s brainchild. “I’m always looking for interesting things for people I work with to do during the day,” he explains. “I kept driving past the sign for the radio station in Portsmouth. One day I stopped in and looked at the program schedule. I said to the manager, ‘There’s no program here about people with disabilities.’ "You’re right, that’s a good idea! We can train you if you’d like to create a program." ... The show went on air on November 3. Guests have included an architect recovering from a stroke, the director of the Disability Rights Center, a hand surgeon, and John Eubanks’service coordinator Alicia. {click to read full article}

Personal note from Binding Ink.Org Writer –Jeane M. Culp (ndpthepoetress): Cheyeanne Gemma, Thank you for introducing yourself and sharing your talent on the ‘Don't Dis My Ability’ radio show. I am in awe of your writing and admire your intelligent mature intellect and insightfulness.

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